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Laser Therapy for Arthritis:Natural Pain Relief

Posted Aug 23 2010 12:00am

Therapeutic Laser Treatment San Francisco

By: Andrea Mills, D.C.


Are you looking for a long-term pain solution for your arthritis that doesn’t have serious side effects? Consider laser therapy for your arthritis pain; it’s non-invasive, very effective, and provides relief quickly.

Laser therapy is a concentrated light therapy that penetrates your skin and goes into your body, where the light is then absorbed by your cells and used for energy. Think of how a plant absorbs sunlight and uses it to grow… the laser light has nearly the same effect inside your cells. They absorb it and at a cellular level, it increases their ability to regenerate and heal.

Laser therapy is considered “experimental” by many in the medical field, but doctors who use them (and their patients who get relief!) know that they work, and often within just a visit or two. The two most popular lasers used for arthritis pain are cold lasers, or low level lasers, and Class 4 lasers, or high powered lasers. A cold laser, or a low level laser, has been around for awhile, and you’re more likely to see these in doctors’ offices, although the Class 4 lasers are gaining in popularity because they work extremely well and very quickly. 

Both types of lasers work the same way; the differences between them is how far into the body the light can get and the type of light used. A Class 4 laser can reach deep into the knee joint, or down into the deep structures of the spine, where a low level laser can reach superficial muscles and joints like those in the hands. Some lasers use light in the blue or ultraviolet spectrum, and some use red or infrared light.

Some people say that they have relief immediately after their laser treatment. The laser causes a cascade of healing effects to happen, including an increase in blood flow to the injured area, a decrease in inflammation and swelling (this may account for the immediate relief felt by some people), increases in healing chemicals and cells to the injury, and drainage of fluids within the joint or muscles. Over time and with each laser treatment, the injury heals a little more.

Depending on the severity of your arthritis pain, laser therapy may provide temporary relief of days or weeks. Some people get laser therapy at regularly scheduled intervals because it keeps them virtually pain free.

Laser therapy works best for arthritis pain when the joints have not yet worn completely out. If the bones are rubbing together and all of the cushioning between them is gone, you may still get temporary relief. If the joint damage is minimal, you are a good candidate to become nearly pain free after laser treatment.

Let me share with you a story of a laser patient of mine who came in as a last resort before spine surgery, we’ll call him Mark (not his real name). Mark had been injured a few years before coming into my office and had herniated a disc in his low back. His doctor wanted to do surgery on it, but Mark wanted to wait. Mark knew that surgery was risky and had a 50% chance of working at best. He also knew that the longer he waited to have the surgery, the more likely a new technique would be invented that would increase the chances of surgery being successful.

Mark had completely changed his life because of his injury. He couldn’t do his hobbies anymore, as he had to protect his back. He couldn’t exercise, he couldn’t perform any physical work, and he had to be extremely careful with his daily activities. He felt like he couldn’t do anything he wanted to do for fear of hurting himself. He was taking painkillers and anti-inflammatories daily, and was concerned about the potential risks of the medications.

A friend of his referred Mark to me, since I have a Class 4 Infrared laser.  He already had his surgery scheduled for 6 weeks out, and was trying to do anything to keep from having it. He told me up front, “I don’t believe this is going to work, but I’ll do anything to stay out of surgery.”

His pain dropped about 20% after his first laser treatment. Within three weeks, he was completely off medications, pain free, and he canceled his surgery. Over the course of several months of chiropractic care and the occasional follow up laser therapy, Mark regained his ability to exercise and do the things he loved. He also said he wasn’t “afraid to move anymore.”

Results like this are pretty typical. If you are suffering from arthritis pain, find out about laser therapy. It may be just the treatment you are looking for.

Dr. Andrea Mills

  Dr. Andrea Mills practices in Southern California. She specializes in chronic pain and difficult to treat cases, taking a multi-faceted approach to help people get better. She combines cutting edge technology and age old healing principles to help her patients get relief. She has a website dedicated to natural arthritis relief, and you can learn more by visiting .

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